Michael Field

A selection of 5 Michael Field books

We have a large assortment of books by Michael Field, the pen name of the couple Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper. They were friends with Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon. Ricketts contributed to the designs of many of their books as well as published some of their work. Below is a small selection of Field’s work that we have in our Ricketts and Shannon rare book collection.

The Tragic Mary, 1890

Front cover of The Tragic Mary featuring flowers, plants, and other art nouveau decorations

Fair Rosamund, 1897

The Race of Leaves, 1901

Wild Honey from Various Thyme, 1908 – This one includes what looks like an additional poem written by Michael Field. The writing style matches the one in their journals.

Dedicated, 1914 – This book is a posthumous collection of Edith Cooper’s poems assembled by Bradley.

If you’d like to read more about the Ricketts books for Michael Field, check out this older blog by Paul Van Capelleveen, curator of the National Library of the Netherlands. Furthermore, if you want to go down the Michael Field wormhole, Darthmouth has digitized their diaries.

Space City! and KPFT Books

Donors have recently given us two Houston-specific books, which we’ll be adding to our rare books collection. The first is Exploring Space City!: Houston’s Historic Underground Newspaper edited by Thorne Dreyer, Alice Embree, Cam Duncan, and Sherwood Bishop. The book re-prints notable articles, interviews, photography, art, and ads from Space City!, which ran from 1969-1972.

If you want to learn more about Fanny, check out a very interesting podcast episode from Lost Notes.

The other Houston book is Live on Lovett Blvd.: Portraits of Musical Guests at KPFT Radio, 2010-2018 by David Britton. The book documents the talent that has graced the radio station’s, now former (or soon to be former), funky house on Lovett Blvd.

Below are a sampling of Britton’s photographs including the late Eric Taylor, Vince Bell, and the trio of Tim Easton, Betty Soo, and Will Sexton.

The Royal Math Book

Vellum cover with decorative detail
Beautiful vellum cover, which is in good condition

Princes of Orange need to learn math, too, and maybe he/they did using this early-mid 1600s math book. While I would definitely admit that math is not my strong suit, I have to say that none of this makes much sense to me.

There is a little explanatory material about the book in French.

Last used page of book featuring a paragraph written in calligraphy that ends with "fin."

Maybe there’s a bit more information on the last page.

Forgive the dreaded cell phone shadow.

If you want to get into the specifics about the Orange lineage, technically whatever prince or very important child used this, they weren’t technically from the original line. It had ended around 100 years earlier with René of Chalon. If you don’t want to a deep dive into the Oranges, then enjoy some painted doodles.

Impossible Exhibits

We recently updated our exhibits around the library. One which is located in the metal hallway, in the front cases near the main entrance, and the 3rd floor next to the Kyle Morrow Room is in conjunction with Archives of the Impossible conference. If you want to read more about the archives, Wired published an article about Jacques Vallée and his papers.

Inside the Woodson is an example of Covid-related art that has been donated.

Outside Woodson and across from the central elevator are exhibits of James Fraher’s photography for the books Zydeco in Texas and Down in Houston: Bayou City Blues written by Roger Wood. The focus is on the Black women highlighted in the books.

As always, please forgive the exhibit case photos. With all of the glass and without great equipment, they are hard to make pretty.

Another Doc C Treasure

Dr. Gilbert M. Cuthbertson (“Doc C”) generously donated his life-long collection of rare books and manuscripts to the Woodson Research Center. Last week, we were delighted to stumble upon this copy of “The Poetical Works of Thomas Campbell” (1837) in his collection.

We are grateful for the above-pictured note someone conveniently tucked inside – otherwise, this hidden gem may have been overlooked! It was not easy to reveal the fore-edge painting, either … after several attempts, we were beginning to think the note was slipped into the wrong book.

Shout out to our rare books specialist, Rebecca, for successfully unveiling it the next day:

Fore-edge painting
“Windsor castle with coach and Windsor Greys”

If you’re curious about how these paintings are crafted, check out this YouTube video Traci found by Martin Frost. Enjoy!

Post written by Lauren DuBois our Doc C book specialist.

Life and Adventures of Calamity Jane

As has been mentioned in previous posts, Woodson staff are still shifting books. We’re almost done, but the shifting has highlighted a new treasure.

Cover of pamphlet. Features an illustration of Calamity Jane holding a rifle.
1st page of pamphlet

This rather odd pamphlet Life and Adventures of Calamity Jane by Herself caught my eye. According to an article by Richard W. Etulain for Montana the Magazine of Western History, after/while doing a speaking tour of sorts, she worked with a ghost writer to produce a 7-page pamphlet about her life. She probably sold the pamphlets to make money, along with photographs. Our pamphlet seems to come from around 1898 or a bit earlier. She or someone else added the name Dorsett, who was a partner of hers for a time. To learn more, I suggest reading the article or better yet Etulain has written a book about her.

Last page of text from pamphlet featuring additions

The pamphlet is in amazing shape. In our catalog record, it is dated as 1895. There are so few physical examples online that is is hard to verify the dating of our version.

Got My Eye on You

Frontispiece for Astronomica

As noted in the past, we send out some of our books for special care and custom boxes. Marcus Manilius’s Astronomica (1679) is getting that treatment right now. Before it went away, Amanda took a picture of a rather spooky character gracing its pages.

Engraving featuring cupids/angels, a person covered in eyes, a person holding a globe, instruments measuring the solar system, and a person reclining.

The question is who is this fellow. I’ve found there is a god of eyes named Argus Panoptes, but he is frequently associated with herding. Are there any clues in the Latin on the page?

Book Shifting Treasures

Hope everyone in Houston is enjoying our first fall morning.

Over the past couple of years as we expand our rare book collection, we have gotten a bottleneck in our Houston Library of Congress section, as well as others. That has precipitated one of the book collections being relocated offsite to the Library Service Center and shifting all of the books to provide more space.

While book shifting scientific books in the QB and QC range, two treasures appeared that will now be moved to our History of Science collection.

The first is Guidobaldo del Monte‘s Le mechaniche dell’Illvstriss. Sig. Gvido Vbaldo de’ Marchesi del Monte, tradotte in volgare dal Sig. Filippo Pigafetta published in Italian in 1581 of which three copies are listed on WorldCat.

  • Vellum cover
  • Book spine
  • Page reads: "1st edition of this translation which was made from the work of 1576. It was used by Galileo.
  • Title page
  • Check out slip
  • Writing in Italian on the inside of the back cover

The book is still in its lovely vellum and at one time was available for check out.

If 1581 is not old enough for you, the second book is from 1551. Casper Peucer‘s Elementa doctrinae de circulis coelestibus et primo motu has an amazing carved cover, folded inserts (I’m too scared to move them.) and made a home to some long dead book worms. According to WorldCat, there are seven known copies.

  • Book cover with carvings including flowers and men's faces
  • Unidentifiable writing
  • Title page
  • Writing in another language. Unclear if this wasn't written later.
  • Book worm marks
  • Fold outs

Exhibits Around the Library

Small statue of Doc C - Dr. Gilbert Cuthbertson

August has begun and it will soon be time to welcome everyone (faculty and students) back to campus. They will be now be greeted with new exhibits. Here’s a look at some of them.

Crowdsourcing transcription of historical documents – Location: 1st floor main hallway

This exhibit reveals a new software that we have been using to help small groups and/or the general public transcribe/translate historical documents. If you’ve got time on your hands and want to transcribe William Marsh Rice’s ledgers, we’d love to have your assistance. Click through the gallery to see how you can participate.

Remembering “Doc C” through his collection – Location: 1st floor exhibit case near front entrance

This exhibit, assembled by Doc C Copy Cataloguer, Lauren DuBois, shares highlights that she has discovered while working through his book collection.

Image of exhibit case of Doc C items.

Stewart Alexander Collection: Books and original recordings of trance and physical mediumship – Location: 1st floor exhibit cases outside of Woodson

These two exhibit cases showcase items from the newly acquired Stewart Alexander collection, which makes up part of the Archives of the Impossible.

Beauty from Above: Book Covers from the Anderson Collection on the History of Aeronautics – Location: 1st floor inside Woodson

In case anyone needs a dose of pretty, this exhibit simply puts a spotlight on some of the beautiful books in the Anderson collection.

Image of Anderson book covers in an exhibit case

Independence Day

We recently welcomed Lauren DuBois as the Copy Cataloger for the Dr. Gilbert M. Cuthbertson Collection. She is working to organize the book collection donated to Fondren Library by the longtime Rice political science professor who passed away in 2019.

“Dr. Gilbert Cuthbertson in his office, Rice University.” (2005) Rice University: https://hdl.handle.net/1911/77991.

An example from his collection came across my desk this week to review. It’s a copy of Atlas to Marshall’s Life of Washington. Published by James Chrissy in Philadelphia, circa 1832, it contains 10 maps on folded leaves, illustrating Revolutionary War battles and campaigns.

Title page from Atlas to Marshall’s Life of Washington

The atlas is a companion to the multi-volume biography written by Chief Justice John Marshall begun in 1799 following Washington’s death. Marshall was granted by Washington’s surviving family full access to all of his records, papers, and personal archives.

Plan of New York Island and part of Long Island showing the position of the American & British Armies before, at, and after the engagement on the Heights, August 27, 1776.

The Woodson Research Center will be closed Thursday-Friday, July 1-2, 2021 in observance of Independence Day. Happy 4th!